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Examining food and agricultural systems cultivates nuanced understandings of rhetoric, campus activism, and cultural and scientific meanings of food. At Iowa State University, the banana has provoked discussions regarding biotechnology—prompting debates with competing narratives about food and agricultural systems. Because of its status as a genetically modified food (developed in campus food sciences and human nutrition labs and purportedly able to address hunger and malnutrition in the Global South), this particular biotech banana prompted reactions from sustainable agriculture students with social and ecological justice concerns. For those working at land grant universities conducting food and agriculture research especially, teaching food systems rhetorics collaboratively reveals the university’s competing narratives, enabling these contexts to be pedagogical cases that inform students of rhetorical strategies used on their campus. While readings and documentaries about food, popular in rhetoric and composition courses, have pedagogical value, we argue that inviting student food activists to rhetoric courses facilitates learning about our own campuses as rhetorical landscapes invested in agrifood systems and ideologies.
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Dubisar, Abby M. and Roesch-McNally, Gabrielle E., "Representation, Resistance, and Rhetoric: Bananas Catalyze Campus Activism" (2018). English Publications. 254.
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